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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Shyla's Two Sides

I love my time in the forest with Shyla. She's a smart, fun, happy, and confident dog when she's playing with me.
All by herself, she's learned to be an amazing photography partner. Sometimes, her movements surprise me and I take a spontaneous photo, but it's rarely a great photo on the first take.

For example, this morning, she went to explore in between two huge boulders. I called her, and I snapped a photo when I saw her enthusiastic recall and the ethereal light.
I wasn't sure that the photo was well focused because I hadn't set up ahead of time to take it. So, all I had to say was "go, go", and Shyla went back up between those two boulders and waited for me to call her again. She has informally learned that "go, go" means "go do that again"! Isn't that amazing?

This time, she decided to carry a stick with her! She even improvises well!
This story is to illustrate how comfortable Shyla and I are with each other. Our bond and mutual understanding has reached that incredible level where it's almost as if we can read each other's minds.

This was another spontaneous recall, and I captured her fully aerial, with no paws on the ground. Her paws are about 8" above the ground.
She's the picture of a confident and happy dog.

That's why it's so hard for me when fear suddenly strikes her. Just the other day, she had the nerve to stand up straight when she met a dog who has bullied her in the past. Usually, Shyla hides or preemptively grovels as this dog approaches. Two days ago when Shyla stood tall to meet the dog, the dog snarled at her - and Shyla shrunk to the ground, shaking.

Then, today, we saw a different group of dogs, a group that has always been nice to her - and Shyla usually meets them without too much fear. But, today, Shyla was immobilized with fear - likely an after-effect of the snarl by a different dog a couple of days ago.

Quite simply, it breaks my heart to see Shyla so scared. These are not situations that I can control - because the dogs are off-leash and aren't easily controlled by their owners. Today, for some reason, I was moved to tears by Shyla's fear. Feeling her shaking as I soothed her was too much for my spirit.

I can just hope that, someday, others will get to see the confident, loving, and sassy dog who I play with every morning.
And, I hope that Shyla can, some day, navigate the world without worrying about who is lurking around the next curve in the trail. Then, others will be able to see that she truly is an amazing dog.


  1. I can only imagine how upsetting it must be to see Shyla so scared. Just know that we see her carefree spirit everyday through your photos.

  2. She is so pretty! <3 We do get to see the other side of her, though, through your blog! :)

    I completely understand. Having to watch my dog go through the same thing over and over it's so upsetting. I wish there was a way for us to make them understand that it's okay.

  3. Thanks to you, we know what a happy, enthusiastic dog she is! I hope the fear gradually diminishes.

  4. A wee setback, as with other scary times, Shyla has overcome so much, this will pass too.Your constant love and care is always there for her, stability must mean so much, if only they could talk. Stand tall, Shyla, after all, out here everyone is on your side. Hugs to all.

  5. It is so easy to see her confidence in your photos. You have done amazing work with her. Imagine what her life would be like if you hadn't taught her that she is capable of being confident.

  6. She is amazing and beautiful.

    Aroo to you,

  7. She truly is an amazing dog. Here's hoping there are fewer and fewer times of fear. Loved the photographs.

  8. She is a lovely model and companion indeed.

  9. I understand what you mean, in a way. I wish people could see Brut the way I do as a fun loving dog, but when people come over he has to shut in his room. I'm limited where I can take him sometimes because of his aggression with other dogs.

    Look at how far you two have come! Look at the bonding you two have had and she shares that special space with you. You are all she needs, maybe that is part of her message?

    I'm sorry it shook you up so much. I know how much it hurts when our dogs are hurting. I wish you well as you struggle through this. I hope you find some peace.

  10. OMG the aerial shot is so beautiful!! I know what you mean about the fear, I feel so bad when Sasha is afraid and begins to shake. It is a helpless feeling and I wish I had an eternal solution

    Anne and Sasha

  11. We see every day in your photos what a beautiful confident girl Shyla is.
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  12. I agree, just a wee set back...I knows Shyla will regain her confidence with other doggies, and try again, and again until that bully sees her light as we do.
    Sometimes it's 5 steps forward, 1 step back. It's always the forward that counts.
    Ruby ♥

  13. Yes,, we do see the happy confident Shyla!!
    Thank you for being honest,,, because your words help other humans who are dealing with some of the same issues,,
    Love is evident,,, we see how confident and loving Shyla is,,, and we see how much you love her too,.
    Were sorry your heart sometimes hurts,,,, we understand 100 percent.

  14. I see her confidence every day through these pictures! You two have a very special bond. It makes me sad to hear that she is fearful with other dogs sometimes...I can only imagine how you must feel. FABulous pictures of Shyla with her gorgeous coloring and the sun shining!

  15. Sounds like our scottie Kendra. She always showed an insecure side to others.

  16. We understand everything you're saying, KB. Molly is very much like Shyla. She's a very happy dog when she's inside and "safe" but take her outside her boundaries on leash for walking and she's very fearful of so many things - big trucks and passing school buses and fenced barking dogs scare the fur off her. Her tail is down and she pulls at her leash because she wants to be home. It's very upsetting and sad. We only want the very best for our girls. They're both such sweethearts ♥

  17. Ruby is gaining much confidence on her walks ...even with her cast! She now gets very excited and leads the way. Occasionally, things still frighten her, but she has made much progress.

    Thanks for your note about a cast cover. The vet made a contraption with us using an old bag of fluids - the plastic bag the fluids come in. They laced some string through it so we can tie it and it works quite well. We will do a post about it next week so people can see. For now, it works pretty well.

  18. Breaks my heart that she has to suffer fools. That's so cool how she has become such a model..and improvisationist! What a sweetie.

  19. Your pictures bring out the true Shayla and that is what each of us who cares about her see's. You are a blessing to this sweetie cos happiness just brims from her in the pictures.
    Maggie has some of her qualities of anxiety when other dogs come around us, and I always wonder what her heart is feeling at that moment. It makes me think of that "fight or flight" reference. As an adult I can relate to her, and there is a small piece of inside of us that no matter how safe we are doesn't quite believe it. You are a wonderful and loving mom. She knows that.
    stella rose's momma

  20. Great shots of her playing. So said that she still has the occasional fear. Maybe someday she can totally leave all that behind.

  21. Gorgeous photos! She is an amazing subject.

    Fear is such a terrible thing, most of all in its unpredictability. But Shyla has you there with her, and that must still make a huge difference.

  22. It would be nice if we could get our two girls together to play. Harlow knows all the right responses, even how to bring out the happy side of a fearful pup. I think they would have fun together.

    Monty and Harlow

  23. Shyla as always gorgeous photos of you and OMDs the action shots are magazine cover quality.
    We hope you find some summer photos of your watering hole...'cause we are sure they will show your beautiful Rockies.
    Hugs madi your bfff

  24. Such a beauty and we sure hope the fear lesses.

  25. She is an amazing dog and you are bring that out of her one photo at a time.

  26. If anything, Shylas fear makes her even more amazing. As a fearful person I think what she manages, even as far as placing trust in you is true bravery. That's not to negate how upsetting it is to see her fearful. You have a big heart and I know you feel things deeply. Your belief in her is making a difference, a big difference, in her life.

  27. Amazing for sure, AND gorgeous!!! We have similar experiences with Lightning's fears, but the improvement is so encouraging.

  28. Shyla has had an amazing growth in confidence since becoming your pal. All good things take time. She's also become quite the "ham" in front of the camera. Your action shots are incredible. Take care driving this weekend - snowing hard here and a gaggle of grands arriving tonight.

  29. It's so hard to imagine Shyla having any fear. Poor baby
    Lily & Edward

  30. You and Shyla have learned so very much since your connection began. It is sad to hear about her reactions but maybe with more encouragement she will lessen the fear. Sophie has issues sometimes which I can only believe developed in the 2 months prior to our receiving her. She overloads with licking and love which can drive some people to distraction but with me I can't get enough.

    Good luck with SHyla's continued education.

    PS: I hope you were able to understand the steps for the orbs. I am easily distracted with PS and when a friend showed me this effect I just went overboard.


  31. I love the "accidental" things we teach our dogs. We don't even realize that we are training them to react to a certain word or phrase. Shyla is so lucky to have you for her owner.

  32. Kia ora KB,
    She is a beautiful friend. I can identify a bit with feeling less than comfortable, even fearful, around others. I find the older I get the more I prefer my own company or the company of a very few I love and trust completely. Trust is not given lightly. Out on your time in the wild she is sleek and vibrant. Maybe she is just really smart....Aroha and Kia Kaha to you all.

  33. I love the gogo command...that's brilliant! And so is Shyla... I think she is awesome!

  34. I'm so used to you sharing Shyla's fun and spunky nature, that it is hard for me to picture her as fearful. I'm just glad she has a great home with you, where she can let her hair down and frolic with abandon. One of the reasons I love the desert, is the open areas where I can tell when someone is coming up on us so we can either detour or get far enough off the trail that an encounter is not very likely. I imagine that is harder to do where you are.

  35. I hope with your guidance and support she'll get there. It's a tough road sometimes, but I see improvements with Delilah every day.


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